Just hours after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Bill Cosby’s conviction for indecent assault and ordered his release from prison, his longtime friend and former television wife, Phylicia Rashad, posted on Twitter to celebrate the news.
And not long after that, another familiar face from prime-time past spoke up on social media, too.
“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star Janet Hubert, best known to fans as the original Aunt Viv from the series’ first three seasons, called out Rashad over a tweet in which “The Cosby Show” alum claimed that “a terrible wrong is being righted” and referred to Cosby’s earlier conviction as a “miscarriage of justice.”
“Phylicia what are you thinking!!!” Hubert wrote in a tweet. “I don't know you but to say this was terribly wrong. EVERYONE knew what he was doing back then. How could you NOT! Get your umbrella sista here comes the sh-- shower. I am outraged that he has been released. Yes he is an old ass guilty man!”
Cosby was convicted in 2018 on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. More than 60 other women have made allegations against the now 83-year-old ranging from groping to sexual assault to rape.
In a follow-up tweet, Hubert wrote, “I would have said he's old he's out and I'm happy for him, but he still ...guilty. I know 5 women who have not come forward. Enough Ya'll we know better. Powerful men do wrong things, black or white...”
Her posts sparked a variety of responses from fans and followers, some picking sides between her and Rashad, with some supporting Cosby and others criticizing the timing of her message.
One commenter tweeted, “Yall celebrities love to nitpick when to be socially conscious. Keep this energy all the time and not when its a #1 trending topic.”
Rashad, 73, she deleted her original tweet supporting her former co-star after facing backlash on social media from critics who equated her support for Cosby with a lack of support for women who’ve spoken out about their own experiences.
“I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward,” she wrote in another tweet. “My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
Howard University, where Rashad currently serves as the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, also chimed in on her comments with a statement shared on the university’s official Twitter account.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority,” the message read. “While Dean Rashad has acknowledged in her follow-up tweet that victims must be heard and believed, her initial tweet lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault. Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies. We will continue to advocate for survivors fully and support their right to be heard. Howard will stand with survivors and challenge systems that would deny them justice. We have full confidence that our faculty and school leadership will live up to this sacred commitment.”